With the on-going issues we have with corruption in the government and with intrigues on government expenditures, especially in national agencies, one could wonder if whether there is still but one politician or government agency who/that is still true to their calling.

People say that once you are part of a blemished system, you also get to be infected; soiled.

With these things at hand, it is now a priority of government agencies to clear their names of any negative image, or distance themselves from the issues by clearing their ranks of employees whose names are being dragged onto the issue, or just by keeping mum about the issues.

But what better way to prove all detractors wrong than to show how successful programs are being implemented by being transparent.

The Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan – Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS) deals about this matter.  The Community-Driven Development strategy of the program allows a multi-stakeholder approach in the project implementation; opening all doors to just about everyone who gets to benefit from the various sub-projects of the program.

In this manner, various organizations/bodies (Civic Society Organizations, Non-Government Organizations, Peoples Organizations, Local Government Units, National Agencies) get to be part of the project implementation primarily as Bantay (Watchdogs – geared at preventing corruption), Gabay (Guide – provide technical support to the department), Tulay (Bridge – link between the department and the various target sectors), Kaagapay (Partners in implementing various programs or projects). The multi-stakeholder approach encourages people or groups to ensure that the project implementation is on the right track, achieving all goals.

Pilar Jimenez Bonete, Office for Senior Citizens Affairs (OSCA) Chair for Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte, is an avid partner of the project.  One could never miss her on the sub-project sight of Barangay Kawit Oriental, Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte. Supported by her aluminum walker, she steadfastly monitors the construction of the 300 linear meters Farm to Market Road PAMANA (Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan) sub-project; doing her part as an advocate for transparent governance.

“I am glad of the Kalahi-CIDSS PAMANA project in our municipality.  We get to be part of the implementation, especially in the monitoring.  We senior citizens may be old, but we can still function in our society very well”, Mrs. Bonete Said.

Mrs. Bonete is a retired teacher in Kauswagan, serving for more than 30 years, and ending her career in teaching as principal for Kauswagan Elementary School. Her advocacy to empower senior citizens earned her an award from the Coalition of Elderly Services in 2011; the only awardee from Mindanao that year.

“As the chair for OSCA in Kauswagan, I have been working with the DSWD especially in the payout for the Social Pension Program.  I always offer my help, especially in locating those members who are unable to be present in the payout. But what I do for the PAMANA project is another matter. I serve as a partner for the implementation. Our organization serves as guardians to ensure transactions are transparent”, Mrs. Bonete said.

Another member of OSCA, Mrs. Efigencia S. Jumawan, Federated Secretary for Kauswagan, partners with Mrs. Bonete overlooking KC-PAMANA sub-projects. She admires the enthusiasm of Mrs. Bonete in partnering with the DSWD to ensure that the PAMANA implementation is on the right track.

“Day in, day out she is out on the field monitoring the PAMANA sub-projects. She even checks documents at the Barangay Sub-Project Management Office to ensure that funding for the project are well managed, Mrs. Jumawan said.

“It is about the right time that the government allows groups outside the national government realm, such as our Senior Citizen group, to take part in the implementation of government projects. The money used in these projects is tax payer’s money, and that includes my money. So it is just fair that we take part in monitoring where our money is spent on; whether properly or anomalously”, Mrs. Bonete said.

The Kalahi-CIDSS Project upholds the right of all stakeholders in the implementation of the project. This is one way of ensuring that the community, the local government units, organizations in the community and other agencies are empowered of the process the project adheres to.

The Kalahi-CIDSS project believes that a united effort is critical in achieving growth and development and defeating the problems of poverty; the more hands working on the project, the easier to achieve the different goals that would address the problems of the community.

Thanks to people like Mrs. Pilar Jimenez Bonete who stepped up to ensure that people get to have their money’s worth; tax payers are ensured that their taxes are spent on legitimate projects.  Transparency is one of the principles of Kalahi-CIDSS, something that the project implementers are apparently serious on.

Written by: Marko Davey D. Reyes – Social Marketing Officer (Kalahi-CIDSS)